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2019 14ers - Blanca - Colorado USA

more hiking up tall mountains

rain 60 °F
View 14ers 2017+ on MurkTravels's travel map.

Blanca

This peak is part of potentially 4 that one could down in southern Colorado near the Great Sand Dunes. Again, this is a hike that I needed the 4Runner. There's 7 miles of road up to a lake to where the real hiking trail begins. I drove about 4 miles of the road before it got really rough - the truck could have handled it, but my off roading experience isn't quite up for that challenge yet. We camped out overnight in a protected pull off site and starting early the next day.

Even a 6 am start was tough going to cover the 3 miles of rough rock road, and then another 4 miles up what is basically a big pile of rocks. There were definite steep drops off some cliff faces, and exposure to high winds as we climbed up a ridge to the top. One section was pretty much boulder climbing and many minutes I just laid low and hung on to whatever rocks were closest.

The goal for the day was to also do Ellingwood, which shares part of the same approach, and there's a ridge connecting the too. However, we were exhausted, it looked even tougher to climb and we couldn't find where the path split off (remember that it's a pile of rocks with a rock path going up it and piles of cairn rocks to guide your way, so it's tough to spot which are the real rocks to follow). Later, we're glad we headed down early as we got a downpour of water for the last 2 or so miles of hiking. What a fun challenging hike, one of the toughest ones I've ever done.

Relive video of the hikes

Grays & Torreys link: https://www.relive.cc/view/vr63JEV23dO
Blanca link: https://www.relive.cc/view/vRO7GpVG5KO

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
and 14ers album

One of the easier sections of the road to the trailhead. This is after we parked, and didn't see any vehicles after this point.
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Chasing the sun up the mountain
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One of the many lakes we hiked by
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Climbing up Blanca's ridge, with Ellingwood in the background
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Proof at the top
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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 18:24 Archived in USA Tagged me waterfalls sunsets_and_sunrises mountains lakes trees snow nature hiking colorado lake sunrise sunsets usa rockies hike denver roadtrip 14er murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

2019 14ers - double take - Colorado USA

climbing the Gray-Torrey duo

sunny 60 °F
View 14ers 2017+ on MurkTravels's travel map.

Gray's & Torrey's

These twin peaks are a somewhat close drive from Denver, but I heard horror stories of the road leading from the highway to the trailhead. If you don't have a high clearance 4WD, then it's another 3 miles each way before and after your hike. These are a couple easier hiking options, but I didn't ever want to add 6 or more miles of gravel road walking. Now that I have the 4Runner, Chris and I decided to knock these peaks off the to do list.

A semi early departure of about 5 am got us to the road. It certainly was rough, but did see some lower cars made it up part of the way. They must have some adventurous drivers. We got near the trailhead for parking and saw quite a few people had camped there over night. Good idea for future trips. The most used path up to either peak is straight forward and has a consistent up hill grind. There's also a Kelso Ridge route option that gets more into class 3 to 4 rock climbing, but we decided to wait on that for a future trip.

The most exciting part of the trip was on the way down. We had to cross a snow field. Previously hikers had crossed and worn down a path, enough so that we could slide down part of it but on a gradual descent section on the trail. We thought that was it, but next saw some people just off the trail, sliding straight down the mountain in a valley. What I came to learn was 'glissading'. Before I knew it, Chris jumped into the snow and started sliding down too. So I followed. It was slick, steep, and scary. We slid for several hundred feet, and then dropped off a ridge and onto an even steeper part. It took a few minutes to probably drop down 700-800 feet of elevation. Quite thrilling, and only ended up with some soaked pants and jackets.

Relive video of the hike

Grays & Torreys link: https://www.relive.cc/view/vr63JEV23dO
Blanca link: https://www.relive.cc/view/vRO7GpVG5KO

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
and 14ers album

the moon is still out
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the sun is on the way
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view farther into the Rockies
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celebrate
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at the top
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an easy section to walk/slide down
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the steep section we glissaded down - you can't even make out the few little specks of people at the top or the path we slid down
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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 18:18 Archived in USA Tagged me trees snow nature hiking colorado sunrise usa hike denver challenge 14er murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

Kyoto and Hakone 2019 - Japan

history in real life

overcast 60 °F
View Japan 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

classic spa

After leaving Tokyo, we headed to the area of Odawara and Hakone, to spend the night at a ryokan. It's a traditional Japanese inn, involving shoes off, straw mat floors, mattress on floor for bedding, tea ceremony, traditional meals, with kimono-like robes ... all very authentic. There was also public and private onsens (hot springs water spa) available. It was very relaxing. The one we chose was also close to the Japanese museum for the Little Prince book, including a replica French town and information about the author's life. Sharon is a big fan, so we checked that out before hopping another bullet train (Shinkansen) to the former capital of Kyoto.

classic Japan

Kyoto, the very historic and ancient Japanese city. It's well known for all the shrines, temples, and religious sites. Here we saw a lot of locals and families dressed in traditional kimonos and clothes. First up was a smaller Buddhist temple that we randomly stumbled upon taking a back way (a less crowded way) to a more famous site. I don't even remember the name of it (Otani?), but it was very peaceful. Then onto a large packed site of Kiyomizu-dera. It has a very instagram infamous temple balcony as well as several pagodas. It's part of the UNESCO world heritage site within Kyoto made up of several temple grounds. We then wandered around the historic area of Gion and found the Hokanji temple pagoda (which was a famous picture we used as the background photo of our trip plan).

Our second day in Kyoto involved a quick train ride a little south of town center. That took us to Fushimi Inari. It's a mountain (really a small hill, compared to Colorado living) that is covered in orange torii gates as memorials to relatives that have passed away. Some are huge enough to walk through (they go over the pathways), while others are small hand held versions just laying around. There's miles of trails and tens of thousands of the gates. We walked to the top of the mountain and had some great views of the city. We ended our time in the city at Nishiki market. It had all authentic local food and crafts, and not so tourist based souvenir junk seen at a lot of popular markets in Japan.

Recommend:

  • a stay at a ryoken w/ an onsen
  • Kiyomizu-dera
  • Fushimi Inari
  • timing - if you're really into temples and history you could spend a week here. we only had a couple partial days to see some of the famous sites that were relatively close to the train station. but there's a ton more that was on our list that we could have done if there was more time: silver pagoda, bamboo forest, golden temple, parks, philosophers walk

Japan Trip
Tokyo
Kyoto and Hakone
Nagoya
Osaka

Trip Map

Pictures

View of Kyoto and Kiyomizu-dera
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the Gion pagoda
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orange torii gates at Fushimi Inari
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Murk Travels - Japan album
see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 02:12 Archived in Japan Tagged churches skylines trains nature japan temple travel castle asia 2019 Comments (0)

National Parks (& aliens) 2018 - New Mexico USA

- the trip that partially was -

snow 20 °F
View New Mexico Parks 2018-9 on MurkTravels's travel map.

overview / intro

To end 2018 and start 2019, I planned a road trip throughout the state of New Mexico. I had plans to stop by Sante Fe (for the Meow Wolf exhibit) and Roswell (for the alien museum), but the main focus was to be on camping in the back of my truck and seeing state and national parks: Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Gila, Bandelier, Carson, Taos.

However, since the federal government were acting like children and decided to shut down, all the parks were closed. I realized after I had started. So I got a few days and nights on the road, but cut the trip short, right after celebrating New Years.

Recommend:

  • Meow Wolf, Sante Fe - more coming to Las Vegas and Denver soon !
  • International UFO museum, Roswell

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels events and races album

https://www.facebook.com/pg/MurkTravels/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2415219085378669|Murk Travels - New Mexico album]]

UFO Museum - included a lot of historical and scientific information in additional to alien stuff
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Meow Wolf - probably only make sense if you've been there and witnessed the craziness

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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 10:08 Archived in USA Tagged art nature hiking usa aliens camping cold roadtrip newmexico nationalparks 2019 Comments (0)

Ragnars and Grand Traverse 2018 - Colorado and Carolinas USA

distance running races and training

sunny 90 °F
View 14ers 2017+ on MurkTravels's travel map.

Races

Some of the individual and team based ultra runs I did over the summer:

Chase the Sun training run - June:

  • on summer solstice, tried to run the entire day from sunrise to sunset
  • group of 5
  • ~ 7 mile looped course near Boulder, CO
  • made about 27 miles and 6 hours

Colorado Ragnar trail - June:

  • around Snowmass, Colorado
  • team of 4, each running 6 times
  • course of 116 miles, mostly off-road dirt trails that looped around one main site
  • I completed about 28 miles
  • team ran for 24 hours
  • camped overnight
  • high of 95, low of 35

Colorado Ragnar road - August:

  • from Copper Mountain to Aspen, Colorado
  • team of 10, each running from 3 to 6 times
  • course of 190 miles, mostly paved roads or sidewalks
  • I completed about 27 miles
  • team ran for 30 hours
  • rode in vans between runs
  • I had the flu the entire weekend

South Carolina Ragnar trail - October:

  • around Fort Mill (near Charlotte NC)
  • team of 6, each running 3 to 5 times
  • course of 132 miles, mostly off-road dirt trails through the woods
  • I completed around 28 miles
  • team ran for about 28 hours
  • camped overnight
  • high humidity and "low" of about 75 overnight

the North Face Grand Traverse - September:

  • the one long solo race I did.
  • Part of a 3 part series (run, mountain bike, cross country ski) throughout the year on the same course
  • from Crested Butte to Aspen, Colorado
  • distance of 41 miles
  • 7,000 feet of elevation gain and descent
  • almost 10 hours of moving time
  • video : https://www.relive.cc/view/1812896250

the Discrete Cirque Series - August:

Pictures

more at : Events album

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all day training run
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completing Ragnar road Colorado
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completing Ragnar trail Carolinas
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Grand Traverse
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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempted at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 17:33 Archived in USA Tagged nature colorado mountain run race camping challenge southcarolina nationalparks 2018 northcarolina Comments (0)

Mt Evans 2018 - Colorado, USA

14er hike on 2018-07-08

sunny 50 °F
View 14ers 2017+ on MurkTravels's travel map.

Mt Evans overview

I completed the Mt Evans via Mt Spalding loop hike on July 8th, 2018. It was the 6th 14,000+ foot elevation peak I've done since moving to Colorado. This excursion took me about 2 hours for the 5 mile round trip out and back hike that has about 2,000 feet of elevation gain.

The hike started around 5 am, which was in the dark for about 30 minutes. Most of the hike is along a ridge to Mt Spalding, and then just below the ridge that runs to Mt Evans. There is a road that most people take, where you can drive within 100 feet of the top. So a few people were at the top ahead of me. I finished around 7 am.
This is a popular 14er, but most people drive and don't take the hike, which is a shame because of the extra views you get ... and the potential to cross paths with some mountain goats. The trail however is not very well marked on the backside of Mt Evans. You generally scramble over some rocks and make your own path and watch for cairns (rock piles) that generally show you the direction you should be heading. The entire trail loop is above treeline, so it's pretty much rock and small plants. On the way down it's mostly small loose rock to complete a loop, or you can backtrack the long way via Mt Spalding again. The parking lot was packed when I returned.

Recommend:

  • Start early to get a spot in the lot and avoid the crowds
  • Make sure to have a local map or study the trail ahead of time
  • As always, bring water and snacks with you
  • Between Spalding and Evans you can get a great view of the Mt Bierstadt 14er peak

Relive video of the hike

link: watch a video and map tour of my hike

Trip Map

Pictures

See this and all the 14er hike pictures on the Facebook Murk Travels photos page - 14ers album.

Summit Lake at sunrise
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Mt Evans peak from the trail
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Looking toward Mt Bierstadt
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Mountain Goats
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Panoramic from Mt Spalding
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Elevation shot at the peak, looking towards the parking lot where people can take the easy way up and drive
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Previous 14er hikes:

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempted at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 13:25 Archived in USA Tagged nature hiking colorado mountain sunrise usa hike 14er 2018 Comments (0)

Quandary Peak 2018 - Colorado, USA

14er hike on 2018-07-07

sunny 50 °F
View 14ers 2017+ on MurkTravels's travel map.

Quandary Peak overview

I completed the Quandary Peak hike on July 7th, 2018. It was the 5th 14,000+ foot elevation peak I've done since moving to Colorado. This excursion took me about 3 hours for the 7 mile round trip out and back hike that has about 3,500 feet of elevation gain.

The hike started around 5 am, which was in the dark for about 30 minutes. But it was worth it since I got to the peak and was the only one up there (after passing about 20 people on the way up). I finished around 8 am, and on the way done there was hundreds of people and the parking lots were extremely overflowing with parking along the surrounding roads. This is one of the most popular 14er climbs. The trail is well marked and besides the switchbacks, is generally straight up the ridge of the mountain to the peak. The trail had a mix of some forest, some open flat area, and ended with a rock pile climb, but with a pretty clear path. The views were fantastic up at the top.

Recommend:

  • Start early to get a spot in the lot and avoid the crowds
  • Can complete it with minimal planning since the trail is well marked
  • As always, bring water and snacks with you
  • At the peak, look south and see if you can recognize the Bross, Cameron, Lincoln, and Democrat 14er peaks

Relive video of the hike

link: watch a video and map tour of my hike

Trip Map

Pictures

See this and all the 14er hike pictures on the Facebook Murk Travels photos page - 14ers album.

Sunrise on the hike up
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The top rocky push to the peak
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The summit and elevation shot
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A panoramic of the great view
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Previous 14er hikes:

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempted at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 13:04 Archived in USA Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises nature colorado mountain usa hike 2018 Comments (0)

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